Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 1 September 2015

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10, verses 28-31.

Read to understand what Jesus is saying here.   This isn’t Joel Osteen; this isn’t prosperity Gospel.   This isn’t bad-hair-and-three-piece-suit preaching from some corny televangelist. Instead, Jesus is saying God will provide for us in all things and all ways and richly, sometimes even in material riches.   The blessings will be even more apparent when we follow Him.

In truth, you don’t even have to follow Jesus for God to richly provide for you. If you are reading these words with sight in your eyes, air in your lungs, and a heart beating in your chest, God has richly provided for you.   You did nothing to deserve it; that’s a taste of ‘grace.’   God created your life out of lifelessness and He preserves you as you are every day of your life whether you love Him or not.   True, some days are better than others; sometimes life really can be terrible.   Some days we feel pretty far from God. But it’s still life, and through each day of it, if we get to 11:59 PM and we’re still alive, then God has provided for us in yet another 24-hour stretch of blessings.   He does this for over 7 billion souls alive on Planet Earth right now, and the vast majority of them don’t even know or believe in Him.

So it stands to reason that, if you let the peace of Jesus rule your life instead of simply the pursuit of prosperity, then your pursuit of life will be richly blessed. Those blessings may come in the form of a fat checkbook or sometimes they may come only as that steady heartbeat; that’s up to God.   It’s up to us whether we trust Him or not.   Either way, you’re blessed and when you let Christ rule your life your cup overflows. Know peace?   It’s because you know Jesus.   Know satisfaction in a job well done?   It’s because you’re using the talents Jesus gave you for some kind of good.   Feel loved?   You’re feeling Jesus.   The list goes on forever. If you have the love of Jesus Christ in your life, you’re richer that Donald Trump on a good hair day. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

Yet don’t get lost in the fuzzy wuzzy nature of all this.   Jesus also promises persecution.   He promises that, in setting yourself with Him, you will set yourself against the world.   The world doesn’t go down without a fight. For professing your faith, you will lose friends, you will lose family, you will lose things with which you’re comfortable, you’ll become a target.   It’s not because of Jesus:   it’s because the world is a sinful place. It’s because sin in the world hates love in the world, is genuinely terrified of the love of Jesus that shines light into every dark place where sin lives.

Even Joel Osteen knows that.

Lord, thank You for all the ways You bless me.

Read Mark 10, verses 17-31.

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